Mean, Mode, Median

Hey everyone! Hope your week has gotten off to a good start! After a morning and afternoon with my fantastic students, followed by an rewarding meeting with parents and treatment teams, I’m feeling great!! 🙂

Today’s song share is called “Mean, Mode, Median Jam” — and it’s about… you’ll never guess… figuring out the mean, mode, and median of a number set! One of my middle school students has been working on these concepts in math class, but needed a little extra help in making sense of their meaning… so, voila! – Mean, Mode, Median Jam was born! I found myself singing this tune after writing it, and overheard my student singing it in the hallway while grooving her way back to class the next day. 😀 Did the song serve its purpose? I’m going to go ahead and say: Mission Accomplished!

I wrote the music [to the pre-composed lyrics- credit to Rockin The Standards] in a very “organic” way (meaning I just forgot to write down the chords), but I can assure you that all of the chords are in first position, and I think I hear an E minor chord in there… so, if you noodle around enough, you should be able to transcribe the chords! 🙂

I followed this song with a worksheet I created on — a really awesome resource! It takes less than 3 minutes to create a personalized worksheet in virtually any subject. If you can’t find the topic you’re looking for, send an e-mail to the address listed on their “Contact” page and they’ll respond with helpful information or suggestions in less than 48 hours! …That’s what I call great customer service! 🙂 –Noa

 Mean, Mode, Median Jam AUDIO

Mean, Mode, Median Jam

Mean, Mode, Median

Average, Often, Middle number…

Mean, Mode, Median

Average, Often, Middle number… yeah!

The MEAN is the average: Add them, then divide.

The MODE is the most often: It’s the easiest to find!

MEDIAN is the middle:

Line them up – BIG to little,

Then pick the number in the middle!

Mean, Mode, Median

Average, Often, Middle number…

Mean, Mode, Median

Average, Often, Middle number… yeah!

Lyrics adapted from Rockin the Standards “Mean Mode Median”

Talent Show Fun!

Good afternoon, everyone! We’re finally having a sunny day here in Rochester, and I must say- I’m loving it! My shades are up and I’m enjoying every bit of light coming through my windows. 🙂 It sure helps to lift my spirits since I’ve been harboring a nasty cold for just about a week now. Such a bummer!

In other news: 2 of my music therapy students performed in their high school’s talent show this past Friday, and they were AWESOME!!! I know I am [naturally] a bit biased, but I think the 100+ people in the audience agreed seeing how they were the only participants to receive standing ovations AND a nearly-deafening applause. I was SO proud of them and overjoyed to see the pride on their faces from knowing that they rocked their own socks off on stage.

As a trio, we sang Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue” with the guitar and shaker accompaniment, which the boys jazzed up with choreography that linked up with the lyrics in the refrain: “There you go making my heart beat again, heart beat again, heart beat again…” etc. For the chorus, we had a little joke circulating that came from our clapping clues — to help us clap in sync, we chose the words “stuck,” “you,” and “stuck” as our target words. Everyone in the classroom (myself included) found ourselves saying, “Stuck you stuck!” so often that it became like our own little “inside joke,” and was the inspiration for the t-shirts the boys, their entire support staff, and I ended up sporting on the night of the talent show! Despite being pumped up with adrenaline, I think I successfully explained this story to the audience in cohesive sentences… if not, they picked up on the cues fairly quickly as the song went on. Yay!

Next, we performed Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” with the original verse lyrics substituted by lyrics the boys composed themselves. We all wore matching sunglasses and put on our best rockstar faces — which was a lot of fun for all of us. 😉 The audience joined in and sang “We will, we will, ROCK YOU,” and I think that’s what solidified our trio’s rockstar status. I mean, check out the picture above — we were seriously rocking!

The last performance from the Stuck You Stuck Trio was more relaxed and intimate — “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from the Lion King. One of the students in our trio, Sam,* I see in both a group and individual therapy setting. In his individual music sessions, we devote half of our time to playing the keyboard — an instrument he really enjoys, and has truly excelled in learning to play. In about 6 months time, Sam has learned to read music, incorporate sharps and flats into his playing, understand the varying note values, and play melodies written within a 2-octave range. The self-gratification he receives from playing is evident in the smile on his face and his eagerness to learn. Watching him grow as an individual and musician has been an experience I feel truly lucky to be a part of.

After finishing his piece, Sam received a standing ovation from multiple members of the audience, with the applause continuing on for so long that the 3rd member of our trio, John*, was able to rejoin us on stage for ANOTHER bow.

I don’t know that words can sufficiently illustrate the overwhelming feelings of pride and accomplishment that we all experienced that night — it was one of those things you “just had to be there” for. But, I thought it was still important to share what I could about my awesome Friday night. Pictures will be posted sometime this week — they are high resolution files and were taken on a professional camera (So fancy!), so I have to compress them before posting.

In the meantime, thank you for reading! We’d love to hear about experiences you’ve had in your profession that have had a lasting impact, so please share! —Noa

*Names have been changed to ensure confidentiality. However, clients have provided written consent allowing their photos to be used for media-related and distribution purposes.

Pass the Beats

Good afternoon, music makers!

I’m in the process of planning for a group session with high-school age children in the school setting. Abilities and needs amongst these students are spread across a wide range — some of the teens have mild, learning-related needs, while other group members are non-verbal or display moderate levels of intellectual impairment. That being said, I find it essential to incorporate music and activities that can be accessed and enjoyed by all of the group participants, regardless of ability.

In seeking to create a structured and interactive music circle experience, I came up with this simple chant titled, “Pass the Beats.” All group members come together to recite the chant, with a unison rhythmic accompaniment on percussive instruments (egg shakers, maracas, claves, etc.). After the chant is recited, a “beat leader” is chosen to create a [short] rhythmic sequence that must then be copied all the way around the circle until it reaches the beat leader again. [The therapist should be the leader the first time through to clarify the form of the activity.] You can choose a “beat leader” by volunteering or just going sequentially around the circle, student by student — when applicable, ask the students which method they’d prefer!

The cycle of reciting the chant, setting a beat, and completing it around the circle is very simple but effective. It requires an awareness of self as well as one’s surroundings, turn-taking, listening, and attending to task, while the opportunity to be the “beat leader” and create an original rhythm serves as an incentive for participation. While there is a chant involved, it is not the most crucial component of the activity — the creation of an opportunity for group cohesion through music making should be treated as the area of greatest importance in this activity. Regardless of existing skill sets, participants can enter this activity and take part in an enjoyable and peer-driven musical experience.

Pass the Beats Audio

Pass The Beats

We’re gonna pass the beats,

Pass them around,

Pass the beats

And pass our sounds.


Get ready to pass them to your right,

Get ready to send those beats in flight!

Simple and accessible — That’s my kind of music! 😉


Let’s Make Everyday an Earth Day!

Sticking with the Earth Day theme, here is a song focusing on the true meaning of Earth Day!  During the chorus of the song I had my students learn some simple signs! I had my students sign the words, live, give, one and love during the chorus. My student always LOVE utilizing sign language within songs and it always helps with remembering the lyrics!  At the end of the song, I led a discussion with my students on ways that they could keep our Earth a clean and beautiful place and man, did they come up with some great ideas! For example, one of my student came up with “walk and don’t drive”. I love to hear what they come up with!

If you need help with learning any of the signs, you can visit a website called, which you can watch a video showing you the correct signs!

The lyrics of the song were adapted from a song by Ron Brown called ,“Everyday an Earth Day”, which I found on the website Songs for Teaching. The chords and the melody are original and pretty simple using  I,IV and V.

Let me know how this song goes with your own students and how you were able to utilize it in your own work! Oh and HAPPY EARTH DAY! —Lindsey

Here’s the Audio Link!

 Make Everyday an Earth Day! 

Let’s make everyday an Earth Day!

Let’s keep the waters clean.

Every day, an Earth Day.

For the plants and creatures

in this world with me.

Let’s make everyday an Earth day!


It’s the good earth, where I live.

It’s the good earth so much to give.

The good earth number one.

The good earth that I love!

Let’s make everyday an Earth Day.

Let’s keep the skies blue.

Every day, an Earth Day!

For our friends and families,

and the animals too!

Let’s make everyday an Earth Day.

Chorus 2x:

Earth Day 2012

Good afternoon, Music Therapy world!

I wish I could say Earth Day was celebrated around here with pleasant weather… but, alas, it rained all day Sunday. So, to put a little bit of pep into our step, Lindsey and I have been compiling a collection of Earth Day tunes, and I’d like to share my latest contribution with you! 🙂

I’ve titled this piece “Recycle!” in honor of the very important concept of Recycling! The lyrics were borrowed from Joyce Paultre’s “Recycle Song” at the immensely helpful website Songs for Teaching — however, the music composition is entirely original.

After playing the song once through, my students picked up the words very quickly, and really enjoyed chiming in during the “Cans! Bottles!” refrain. What I liked so much about the lyrics was that they contain concrete examples of items that can be recycled, as well as ways in which my students could take part in recycling while understanding the importance of their actions.

I followed the song intervention with a quick worksheet to evaluate how well students retained the material pertinent to the concept of Recycling. All of my students not only did very well on their worksheets, but answered each question with great confidence. What a fun way to begin a discussion about Earth Day!

Attached you will find the lead sheet for “Recycle!” as well as the follow-up worksheet (on page 3 of the document).

Recycle! Audio

Recycle! Lyrics, Chords & Worksheet


CansBottles!  Don’t throw them away – Recycle!

PaperPlastic!  Don’t throw them away – Recycle!

We’re on a mission to save the world.
Everybody: boys and girls!
Don’t put it off… Don’t wait,
Because tomorrow might be too late!

CansBottles!  Don’t throw them away – Recycle!

PaperPlastic!  Don’t throw them away – Recycle!

Reduce the trash that’s in your can.

Re-using things will help the land!

If you have paper, plastic or tin,

Help save the Earth: Use a recycling bin!!!

CansBottles!  Don’t throw them away – Recycle!

PaperPlastic!  Don’t throw them away – Recycle!

We’re on a mission to save the world.
Everybody: boys and girls!
Don’t put it off… Don’t wait,
Because tomorrow might be too late!

CansBottles!  Don’t throw them away – Recycle!

PaperPlastic!  Don’t throw them away – Recycle!

Stay tuned for a post from Lindsey relating to Earth Day — she’s got some great stuff in store! For even more Earth Day fun, check out our good friends friends Megan and Kim at Mundana Music Therapy.

Happy Earth Day to all! –Noa

What Makes A Garden Grow?

Audio: What Makes A Garden Grow?

Here is a piece I wrote for a session with a 5-year old client with multiple needs. Now that the weather outside finally reflects the fact that Spring is here (and has been for weeks now), I’ve been trying to integrate a bunch of Spring-related material into my session plans!

This client is just starting to use verbal expressive language, so the repetition of the word “grow” was implemented to address speech and language goals in the areas of oral motor control (forming the mouth shape required for “O”) and diction. Also, particularly with younger and developmentally-delayed populations, I have found that repetition plays a pivotal role in the retention of aural material.

This song outlines the basic steps to tending to a garden and/or plant life [in a very general sense]. It can also be used as an introduction to the larger topic of horticulture. It may be useful to incorporate movements (or ASL) with the underlined words or phrases to reinforce the concepts (e.g. making an upward movement with hands and arms for “grow;” acting out using a shovel or trough for “dig;” etc.).

After going through the song a few times, we drew pictures together that represented the important parts of the song: Planting a seed, and giving the Earth water and sun for the plants to grow. I found that these self-made visuals were extremely helpful for her as it not only gave her a “roadmap” for following the song’s storyline, but the depictions also held a personal meaning as they were a product of her own creativity.

Click on the link at the top of the page to access the audio — lyrics are pasted below. Over & out! –Noa

What Makes a Garden Grow?


What makes a garden grow, grow, grow;

Grow, grow, grow;

Grow, grow grow?

What makes a garden grow, grow, grow,

In the season of Spring?

You dig, dig, dig into the ground

And plant a little seed.

You cover the seed with lots of dirt

To make the seed a home! Oh…


The Earth needs water, water, water

To feed the flowers and trees.

We can spray our garden with a hose

Or wait for the rain to come… (whoosh, whoosh << can be simulated with a rain stick!)


The Earth needs the sun to shine, shine, shine

And light up the garden very bright.

The sun gives the garden energy

So the flowers grow tall and healthy!


Butterfly Life Cycle

Here’s a sweet little ditty about the Butterfly life cycle. Around this time of year, my students are learning about various life cycles (plants, animals, etc.). I wrote this song to teach my students the specific stages of the Butterfly life cycle, with visual aid reinforcement as well. The visual aid depicts 4 stages, with a tactile velcro component where the students can match the pictures to the corresponding stages.

This song is also useful in addressing the development of listening comprehension skills and attending to tasks. I hope you find this material as useful as it was in my practice! –Lindsey

Audio: Butterfly Life Cycle

The Butterfly Life Cycle


We all go through steps and stages,

We all go through them in our lives.

It’s called the life cycle from beginning to end:

A frog, butterfly, bird, and all of our friends


A butterfly life cycle goes through 4 steps:

First comes the eggs; not a butterfly yet!

They lay them on the leaves and trees.

First come the eggs laid on the leaves.


Next in the life cycle after the eggs-

The eggs hatch and then come a caterpillar with lots of legs.

The caterpillar eats and eats and eats

To gain power and energy for his big wings.


3rd in the life cycle after the caterpillar

Comes the cocoon/pupa stage where he lives.

The caterpillar is wrapped way up tight

To help him grow with all his might.


4th and final stage in life cycle

Is the butterfly’s final arrival!

Out he comes with his beautiful wings;

He is a beautiful wonderful thing!